During the Big Tech purge of 2021 when social media sites banned a slew of non-leftist voices, including President Donald Trump, citizens fled to smaller competitors such as Gab, which Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is now targeting.
In a Wednesday evening Twitter video, with State Reps. Craig Goldman (R–Fort Worth) and Phil King (R–Weatherford) on either side of him, Abbott claimed Big Tech competitor Gab was “antisemitic” and that such companies “have no place in Texas and certainly do not represent Texas values.”
He offered no evidence to back up his claim against Gab. He also praised legislation from Goldman and King “that fights antisemitism in Texas.”
“I’m not on Gab a lot but I wouldn’t consider the platform as ‘anti Semitic’ …and I’m a Jew,” a citizen named Lisa replied to Abbott’s tweet. “Stop this nonsense.”
Gab recently skyrocketed in popularity, claiming more than 2 million new users in January after Twitter permanently banned then-President Trump and Amazon, Apple, and Google teamed up to shut down conservative social media app Parler.
Abbott’s attack on the free speech platform contradicts his words from last week when he defended free speech and berated Facebook and Twitter for their censorship.
“They are choosing which viewpoints are going to be allowed to be presented,” Abbott said at the time. “Texas is taking a stand against Big Tech political censorship: We’re not going to allow it in the Lone Star State.”
Mainstream media coverage of Gab has attacked its free-speech approach to moderation, labeling it a haven of “QAnon conspiracy theories, misinformation and anti-Semitic commentary […] .”
“Gab is not an ‘anti-semitic’ platform,” the company replied to Abbott’s tweet. “We protect the political speech of all Americans, regardless of viewpoint, because in this age of cancel culture nobody else will.”
“The enemies of freedom smear us with every name in the book because they hate America and they hate free speech,” Gab continued. “It’s a shame to see a GOP politician fall for this trap when conservative values are under sustained attack all over the country.”
Gab CEO Andrew Torba has publicly called for Christians to build their own economy and stop supporting leftist companies.
“Critical theory (cultural marxism, the cult of social justice, etc) is a fraudulent, vapid, and pathetic subversion of well-meaning Christians, churches, and Christian values in general,” Torba wrote in February.
On Thursday, the Republican Party of Texas said they would not be leaving Gab, despite calls to do so from the party’s vice chair Cat Parks, saying “the 1st Amendment still shines brightly in the Lone Star State.”
The RPT will always fight censorship. We support the 1st Amendment, including free speech platforms & VC @CatParksTX's right to criticize such. TexasGOP has no plan to deplatform from any of our social media accounts. The 1st Amendment still shines brightly in the Lone Star State pic.twitter.com/mDsEb5hCYa
— Texas GOP (@TexasGOP) March 11, 2021
Citizens also responded to Abbott’s attack on the platform.
“I’m on [Gab] and can attest,” another replied. “Gab itself is a neutral platform run by people who pride themselves in being for individual free speech and free association. Something that can’t be said of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.”
“As a Texan I support Gab’s free speech position over Governor Abbott’s anti-constitutional position,” posted Nathan. “Abbott’s foolish oversight almost froze us to death last month and I won’t be voting Republican for the first time ever if he’s on the ticket.”
“I’m not a user of Gab yet but Governor, you are a disgrace for this libelous statement and [I] hope you are sued for it,” replied another citizen.
Abbott’s action this week contrasts with that of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who declared war on Big Tech censorship but not competitors who promote free speech.
Concerned citizens may contact their state representative and state senator. Current proposed laws can be tracked using Texas Legislature Online.